Yesterday on my way to work a shift at the hospital, I had the bad fortune of losing my train ticket. As I was exiting the train station, the transit police asked me for my ticket. When I couldn’t find it, they gave me a $173 fine! I do not understand how they are allowed to demand that people produce their tickets AFTER they’ve already ridden the train and left the station. I paid my fare! My partner and I cannot afford to pay it. They make well below the poverty line and my job at the hospital is an on-call position so I don’t get any hours. The two of us are trying to survive on an $11,000 per year income and it’s not working out well. I called my partner while I speed-walked to the hospital and cried uncontrollably. They were so alarmed by my sobs and gasps for air, that when I got home that evening they told me they thought I had been attacked. We discussed the issue and we are going to dispute the ticket. My partner also brought up the issue of my current state of mental health. They referred back to the fact that my reaction made them think I had been violently attacked. They pointed out to me that I kept apologizing for it and that I kept calling myself stupid, irresponsible, and stating that I “keep messing everything up”. “This isn’t the first time in the past couple weeks that you’ve shed tears over things that were either not your fault or just spilt milk”, they said. We both came to the conclusion that the isolation from the move and the chronic financial stress is beginning to mess with my stability. None of my current medications have an anti-anxiety effect so we both think it’s a good idea to see a doctor about trying some anxiety medication as a prophylactic—something short term to help get me through until we are more financially and socially fit without having a full-blown episode. The problem is, we don’t have health insurance. Unlike Nova Scotia, where healthcare is completely covered by taxes so no one has to pay out of pocket to receive basic healthcare, BC requires its residents to pay a monthly fee. We haven’t applied for the provincial coverage because we can’t afford the monthly fee, so right now I can’t go to the doctor for something as simple as a bladder infection without paying a ridiculous amount of money. God knows what kinds of bills we would accrue if I all of a sudden turn manic tomorrow and have to be hospitalized? The good news is, we can apply to have the monthly fee waived because we are poor. I plan on calling the health ministry to find someone who can help me fill out the forms properly and see if my application can be sped up because I’m mentally ill and currently at risk of having a relapse. Hopefully I’ll be eligible for the pharmacare program as well to help with the cost of my medications. I worry that the process won’t happen fast enough and I’ll get sick before seeing a doctor. At least my partner is a huge support, I have amazing friends and family back home that I can call, and my volunteer work provides me with some structure, consistency, self-esteem and social inclusion. It also helps to write about it on A Bipolar Blog. It’s cathartic and I think it is extremely important for people to understand all of the challenges, including the mundane, of having a mental illness. I hope that some of you can learn and/or find some comfort in sharing my lived experience. No one is alone.